Rediscovered "Extinct" Woodpecker

The Christian Science Monitor is reporting that the ivory-billed woodpecker, thought to have been extinct for years has been sighted again. Trivia: Woodpeckers are a federally protected bird under the North American Migratory Bird Act.
Woodpecker rediscoveredThe striking bird, last seen in 1944, has been rediscovered in the Big Woods area of Arkansas, scientists and conservationists reported Thursday.

"This is thrilling beyond words ... after 60 years of fading hope that we would ever see this spectacular bird again," John W. Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, said at a news conference.
Though I'm neither a naturalist (not to be confused with a nudist) nor a birdwatcher, I do know that all woodpeckers are of value to us. It has been shown that two-thirds to three-fourths of their food consists of insects, chiefly noxious wood-boring beetles and many caterpillars, mostly species that burrow into trees. [Click on images to enlarge]

Woodpecker rediscoveredNext in importance is the ants that live in decaying wood, all of which are sought by woodpeckers and eaten in great quantities. Many ants are particularly harmful to timber because if a scout ant finds a small spot of decay in the vacant burrow of some wood-borers, an army will show up and enlarge the hole. The whole trunk is eventually honeycombed and the weakened tree is easily fell even by a gust. Moreover, these insects are not accessible to other birds, and could pursue their career of unmolested destruction were it not for the woodpeckers. These amazing birds have beaks and tongues especially fitted for drilling into trees.

It is thus evident that woodpeckers are great conservators of forests. We owe to them more than to any Agency the preservation of timber from hordes of destructive insects. Log cabin owners are often annoyed at the damage caused by woodpeckers; however they protect and conserve the forest. That's a huge tradeoff.

This discovery is met with as much enthusiasm as that of the Eat-Me Butterfly.

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another point of view ...

Blogger frankysbride

In rural Alaska, woodpeckers liked to bang holes in the outside walls of my grandma's little wood house. I used to tell her it was because they knew she was buggy. :-)

Anonymous Wendy

It took me forever to find out the holes in the trees outside my window were made by woodpeckers.

I thought it was just some bug. Someone in our office was a bird-watcher, and commented on that one day. And that's how I discovered it was the woodpeckers.
- Wendy

Blogger Knottyboy

You have no idea what a present this is for the birding community. I am the compiler for the CBC for the Audubon Society here in Star Valley. This is so miraculous that a species has fled out of the clutches of man and reproduced for years undetected. Mother Nature takes care of her own.
Nudist and a woodpecker don't mix :)

Blogger Nam LaMore

wendy: yeah, it can be a mystery if you've never thought about a bird drilling all those holes.

knottyboy: now, why doesn't it surprise me that you're the watchman for the local woodpeckers? I was first exposed to birdwatching when i was in the UK. they really love the 'sport' -- me, i was just reading "Catcher in the Rye" while we were out in the marsh.

speak up!

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